Here I am, once again, ready to pour my heart out on the pages of a blog. I'm drawn here again tonight when my heart feels too fragile to do anything else. This blog is one of those tiny connections to my Holden that I can't seem to let go.
It's been a hard few weeks. Honestly, it's been a hard few years.
Some days, it's all I can do to keep the smile plastered on my face.
We bought Carter's first shoes this week, and I had no idea how much that would break my heart. It should be one of the happiest rites of passage in a child's first year, and I just want to cry because Holden never had a pair of shoes. He went into the hospital before he ever needed them, and we never thought to buy any. Just one of my many regrets, I suppose.
Holden celebrated his first birthday on the 8th floor of CMC- Carter will be celebrating his this weekend at home. Carter is already in size 4 diapers, and Holden never made it past size 3. Carter weighs more now than Holden ever did. The comparisons are endless and so unfair. These may all seem like such small, trivial things, but part of my heart is a little bit shattered knowing that Carter is already bigger than Holden ever had the chance to grow.
I'm so very thankful, yet still reeling at the unfairness of it all.
It seems harder to hold it together this time of year, because I'm constantly torn. Carter celebrated his first Christmas, and the girls were spoiled rotten by an enormous family who all love them dearly. I am overjoyed by how much love my children have surrounding them. We are all healthy and whole and loved, and I should be thankful for every one of those blessings- yet my heart aches for the blessing taken from us too soon.
This was the second Christmas celebrated without Holden. The second one was worse than the first, I think. The first was so painful, but still so new. I kept thinking I would be okay if I could just get through it all. This year has been so much harder, because it's sinking in that this is a yearly thing. This is forever.
I've been struggling this holiday season, even as my blessings seem to multiply each day. I'm crying more often. I'm not sleeping well. I'm having bad dreams- those dreams- almost nightly, and I wake up aching so much for a little boy who exists only in my dreams and memories now. I will always and forever want more.
Most of Holden's first and only Christmas keepsakes are packed away in his box, but I faithfully hang his stocking each year. Each year it remains empty. It's such a tangible reminder of the tremendous loss that we live with each and every day. His Christmas things should be in his stocking. Not in a box.
This isn't right. This isn't natural. This isn't the way things are supposed to be.
My heart goes out to every parent who has had to put their child's life in a box.